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Charles Nagel

In office
March 6, 1909 – March 4, 1913
Preceded by Oscar S. Straus
Succeeded by (none)

Born August 9, 1849(1849-08-09)
Colorado County, Texas, U.S.
Died January 5, 1940 (aged 90)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Fannie Brandeis Nagel
Anne Shepley Nagel
Alma mater Washington University School of Law
University of Berlin
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Charles Nagel (August 9, 1849 – January 5, 1940) was a United States politician and lawyer from St. Louis, Missouri. Born in Colorado County, Texas to Dr. Hermann and Friedericke Litzmann Nagel, he served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1881 to 1883, was president of the St. Louis city council from 1893 to 1897 and was a member of the Republican National Committee from 1908 to 1912. In 1909, President William Howard Taft appointed Nagel Secretary of Commerce and Labor which he served as until 1913. He was the last person to serve in the post before it was separated to two cabinet positions, Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Labor. Nagel was also a founder of the United States Chamber of Commerce. He died in St. Louis, Missouri on January 5, 1940 and was interred there in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Nagel was the brother-in-law of Louis Dembitz Brandeis, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


Born August 9, 1849, in Colorado County, Texas, Charles Nagel moved to a boarding school in St. Louis, Missouri, for high school and stayed to study law at Washington University Law School. He graduated with his law degree in 1872. Nagel furthered his education by traveling to Europe and learning political economy at the University of Berlin.

Returning to St. Louis in 1873, Nagel joined the state bar and began to practice law. His first foray into politics came when he won election to the Missouri state legislature in 1881. Nagel was then elected judge of the Missouri Supreme Court in 1893. At the same time, he taught at St. Louis Law School (1886-1910) and worked for the Republican National Committee (1908-1912).

Nagel was a corporate attorney for Adolphus Busch when President William Howard Taft chose him in 1909 to become secretary of commerce and labor; he remained in that post until the end of Taft's presidency. While heading the Department of Commerce and Labor, Nagel made it more accessible to the needs of businessmen while also expanding the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. Following his time in the cabinet, Nagel returned to the practice of law, arguing before the Supreme Court three times before his death.


Political offices
Preceded by
Oscar S. Straus
United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor
Served under: William Howard Taft

March 6, 1909–March 4, 1913
Succeeded by


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